An Edinburgh tanning salon says it is being forced to move to new premises after the construction of a major city centre cycle route resulted in a huge drop in sales.
Bali Tan announced in a social media post that roadworks along Roseburn Terrace for the new City Centre West East Link (CCWEL) have led owners to decide to cease trading at the salon from the beginning of next month.
House of Hound, a pet supply store operating on the street, indicated it “might follow soon”, whilst Delta Indian Takeaway, another trader who says they are impacted by the project, called the situation “dire” and said it “badly needs financial support”.
However, The City of Edinburgh Council said it is under no obligation to provide compensation for businesses impacted by roadworks. But it has put handcarts and some alternative loading bays in place during the work.
After work commenced on the CCWEL in February, some Roseburn Terrace businesses reported income falling by up to 70 per cent due to a loss of parking spaces and loading bays. The situation was made worse with a delay when construction teams discovered asbestos in cellar roofs below the pavement, prolonging disruption to the street.
The Council responded by introducing temporary loading and unloading areas for deliveries and promoting businesses in the area through paid social media advertising and banners hung on work site barriers.
Bali Tan – which opened on the street less than a year ago – said it plans to turn the hindrance “into an exciting opportunity to grow”, announcing it will move to a “bigger and better suited salon in an EH1 city centre location”.
Traders pleaded with councillors at a meeting last month to look into setting up a compensation scheme similar to one established by the council to support businesses affected by tramworks around Leith, however, the request was turned down.
Conservative councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield, Scott Douglas, who put forward the motion calling for financial support, wrote in an email to Transport and Environment Convener Lesley Macinnes last week: “I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the Bali Tan shop on Roseburn Terrace has announced that it will cease trading due to the drop off in business caused by the CCWEL works.
“Furthermore, I received the following message from the owner of the Delta Indian Takeaway last night:
“Delta is struggling badly, suppliers are refusing to supply goods as they cannot load and unload, same problem with the delivery drivers too. Our business is dire and we badly need financial support, our regular customers are not able to come to us due to lack of parking. Passing trade is next to nil as it looks like we are closed.”
“House of Hound has also said that ‘it might follow soon’, which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that the measures taken so far are not enough if we are to keep these businesses operating.
“I’m aware of the council’s position regarding financial help, but can I check whether there is anything else that we can do help these traders in the short term?
“It’s clear that they were not exaggerating their position at the start of the works, and many are finding themselves in a desperate position. I am convinced that without more immediate help we will see several cease to operate in the coming weeks and months.”
Meanwhile, Richard Parker, Labour candidate for Corstorphine / Murrayfield at the upcoming council elections, has started a petition in a bid to get compensation for the affected Roseburn Terrace businesses.
The petition – which has gathered 680 signatures so far – states work on the CCWEL has caused a “punitive reduction in takings and left many on the brink of solvency”.
Mr Parker said: “I am asking for the Council to look again at their support package for the Roseburn traders and to go beyond Facebook advertising campaigns and signs on lampposts.
“What’s needed is financial support, such as what’s been done for Leith Walk, to keep these businesses open until work finishes in December.”
Councillor Macinnes said: “There is no doubt that an important scheme of this scale is likely to have an impact on both traders and residents.
“We took this into account as part of our planning for the project and we’ve worked really hard to address any issues since construction got underway, as well as trying to complete this section of the larger project as quickly as possible.
“Officers are meeting regularly with businesses to put solutions in place, including improved side street loading and the reinstatement of a loading bay, which will be carried out in the coming weeks.”
by Donald Turvill Local Democracy Reporter
The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) is a public service news agency : funded by the BBC, provided by the local news sector, and used by qualifying partners. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.